Farm support to stay after 2013 says EU Commissioner

UK - Mariann Fischer Boel has delivered a blow to Tony Blair and Gordon Browns’ hopes of getting rid of farm support.
calendar icon 20 October 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
The EU Agriculture Commissioner has made it clear she will seek to maintain Single Payments after 2013, warning that if they are removed large tracts of land across the EU will be abandoned and the environment will suffer.

Appearing before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on Monday, she attacked the stance taken by the Treasury and Defra in their joint ‘Vision for the CAP’ document.

The statement that EU farming should aim to be ‘internationally competitive without reliance on subsidy or protection’ in 10 to 15 years time had clearly ‘not been fully thought through’, she told MPs.

Mrs Fischer Boel said the vision was ‘lacking analysis’. No evidence had been provided to support the suggestion that EU farmgate prices would rise and production would be largely unaffected if subsidies, tariffs and export refunds were removed, she said.

“You cannot be so categorical about what will happen. In a totally liberalised situation, with no direct payment, zero tariffs and no security, farms will be kicked out of the market.

“There are businesses in Europe which, if they had to produce for market prices, could not cover production costs, even if the land was free. The result would be land abandonment,” she said.

“If land was abandoned and we had no direct payments then we would have no cross compliance so we could not put pressure on farmers to maintain good agricultural and environmental conditions.”

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